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Disgruntled Democrats Bemoan Biden’s Vow to Block Washington Crime Law

After President Joe Biden left, many Democrats on Capitol Hill were furious. signaled his support For a Republican-led effort by the Republican Party to repeal a District of Columbia law that relaxes punishments for violent crimes.

In January, the Revised Criminal Code Act was passed 12-1 by the city council.

This law will overhaul the district’s criminal codes, eliminating most mandatory minimum sentences and reducing penalties for violent offenses such as carjacking, robbery, or sexual assault.

The House of Representatives Republicans joined the fray in February. passing two resolutions Disapproval of the crime law, and another local law that would permit non-citizens to vote in the district.

On February 7, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered the State of the Union Address in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

If approved by the Senate, and signed by Biden these resolutions would invalidate local laws.

“I support D.C. statehood and home rule—but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. council put forward over the Mayor’s objections—such as lowering penalties for carjackings,” Biden made the comment in a March 2, tweet.

“If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. council did—I’ll sign it.”

Although 31 House Democrats were able to join their Republican colleagues in passing the resolution disapproving the crime bill, the overwhelming majority didn’t.

“This ain’t it,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), responded to President Trump in a tweet.

“D.C. has a right to govern itself, like any other state or municipality. If the president supports D.C. statehood, he should govern like it.

“Many places have laws that the president might disagree with.” she added. “He should be respectful of the D.C. people’s government as he does elsewhere.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters in the Hart Senate Office building in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Likewise, Democrat Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia, responded that it was a “Sad day for D.C. home rules and D.C. residents’ rights to self-governance”

“We had hoped with more Senate support that we would be able to ensure neither disapproval resolutions pending before Senate would reach President’s desk. However, with the increase in crime across the country, many senators do not want their views to be seen as supporting criminal Justice Reform,” Norton said in a statement.

“I will continue doing everything I can to convince the president that signing the resolution or failing to sign it would empower the antidemocratic, paternalistic Republican opposition to the principle local control over local affairs.”

Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have voiced support for the resolution, expressing concern over the potential consequences the crime law would have on public safety.

“It is not something I support. [the crime law]Manchin stated: CNN February 27, 2007. “It is clear that I want to keep people in prison and not let them go. It’s something I don’t know, but I would vote for its repeal.”

And Manchin’s vote could make all the difference in passing the resolution, as the Democrats’ already slim majority in the Senate has been reduced to just one vote in the absence of Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.), who remains hospitalized as he receives treatment for clinical depression.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

From Disgruntled Democrats Reject Biden’s Vow To Block Washington Crime Law

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